General Spells Guide

As I have need for this for a game I run, I may want it elsewhere later, and it may help others, I thought I would do a post similar to my post about Aegis of the Hearth a while back. The structure of the post will have to be significantly different, but the idea of examining the logic of what is written with extreme care is the same. I want to clear up what is actually written in the books about General spells, what is frequently incorrectly stated about them, and about what is necessarily implied by what is written. As an addendum, I will make the follow-up post about the mastery option Adaptive Casting.

[size=200]“General” Guidelines[/size]

One of the most common statements is that General spells are spells that use guidelines listed as “general.” This can quickly be proven to be false from the core book alone. There are many spells listed as General that do not follow guidelines listed as “general”: Sight of the True Form (ArM5 p.130), Dispel the Phantom Image (ArM5 p.146), Restore the Moved Image (ArM5 p.146), Lay to Rest the Haunting Spirit (ArM5 p.150), The Invisible Eye Revealed (ArM5 p.157), Wizards’ Communions (ArM5 p.160), and Aegis of the Hearth (ArM5 p.161). So we know for certain that using a guideline listed as “general” is not a condition for a spell to be a General spell. So what does qualify a spell?


Happily, the core book actually provides us with a definition on page 115. What are the actual requirements?* They may be learned at any level.

  • They can be formulaic or ritual spells.
  • The higher the level, the more powerful the spell is.
  • The only change is in the level and power parts of the spell.

But what does each of those mean?

[size=150]Learned at Any Level (& Formulaic Spells)[/size]

There could be a few issues interpreting learning General spells at any level, but canon clears a lot of these up via examples or other statements, even if seemingly buried or obtuse.

Does “any level” mean there can be no maximum level? If so, then it would be impossible for a Formulaic spell to be a General spell because “Formulaic and spontaneous spells may not have a level greater than 50” (ArM5 p.114). Since General spells explicitly can be Formulaic spells and Formulaic spells are explicitly limited to level 50, a level limit does not violate "any level."

Some SGs don’t like spells above level 5 that aren’t divisible by 5 (sometimes unless General, sometimes including General). But what does canon say about this? “Most spells are assigned a level, which is usually a multiple of five. It need not be, however, and magi may well invent spells of intermediate levels. Spontaneous spells often have other levels, as well” (ArM5 p.115). So we know restricting intermediate levels is a house rule and not an issue here. An SG might not rule there is any benefit outside of being harder to dispel by adding a level to your spell, but you're allowed to.

[size=150]The Higher the Level, the More Powerful[/size]

Note that this does not specify that the increase must be linear, just that increasing level increases power. So, for example, this does not rule out an ordered sequence by magnitude such as 1, 3, 6, 9, 12, …, even though the increase from 1 to 3 is not the same size as from 3 to 6, 6 to 9, etc.

Must the spell’s power increase from one level to the next, or is a monotonic increase sufficient? Fortunately, we have many examples of General spells that have monotonic increase, not continuous increase, in power: Shell of False Determinations (ArM5 p.157), Mirror of Opposition (ArM5 p.159), (The runemaster) curses the wound with blood he spilled (HMRE p.128); (The runemaster) speaks of friendship among men (HMRE p.129); I, (the runemaster), ask for Freya’s blessing (HMRE p.130); I, (the runemaster), dedicate helmet-destroying hail (HMRE p.131); I, (the runemaster) bless the work (HMRE p.131); I, (the runemaster), sharpen my axe (HMRE p.135); (The runemaster) defies his rival and laughs at his misfortune (HMRE p.135); I, (the runemaster), step most surely in sunlight (HMRE p.136); I, (the runemaster), fight for my companions (HMRE p.136); I, (the runemaster), need strength for my trials (HMRE p.138); Thou wilt prolong the king’s life: and his years as many generations (RoP:tD p.50); As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him: as he delighted not in blessing, so let it be far from him (RoP:tD p.51) – and this one only every 10 levels.

[size=150]Only the Level and Power Parts[/size]

Since it is only the level and power that vary, that means other things don’t vary. This can be seen a few ways. First is the statement that the level changes the power; it doesn’t state that things like Range can change, just power. Second, it is specific to the level part of a spell’s description (and the relevant parts of the paragraph explanation and the design), separate from Technique and Form along with Range, Duration, and Target; title; ritual (if it is); and requisites. Third, that would then be moving from "same" into what is termed "similar."

Edit: As a point of clarity on other things not varying, two spells may use exactly the same guideline, maybe with different levels or maybe at the same level, with the same Range/Target/Duration and not use the guideline in the same way. If the guideline is not being used in the same way, then something other than the power is being varied, which disqualifies the spells as being two versions of the same General spell. For example, destroying Infernal Might is different than destroying Faerie Might in a non-power way, even though they use the same guideline.


As long as two spells do the same thing (including Technique/Form, Range/Duration/Target, etc.) at a different level, the level only changing the power of the effect, the two spells are different versions of the same General spell. It does not matter if the guideline says “general,” nor if the power increase happens from one level to the next or requires multiple levels, nor if there is a maximum effective level. This is necessarily true, either explicitly or implicitly, according to canon.

[size=200]Going Forward[/size]

So what do we do with this information?

[size=150]What If It Doesn’t Say “General”?[/size]

This is a game of semantics. For example, look around at spells like Demon’s Eternal Oblivion. Check Darius on pages 34-35 of the core book; you’ll find Demon’s Eternal Oblivion listed as PeVi 30 there. Frequently General spells are listed with specific levels, so finding a spell listed at a specific level does not imply the spell is not general. Besides which, you could just write your own version labeled as general, bypassing this issue, which is why it's just a game of semantics. "Why is the book version of Ball of Abysmal Flame not general while your version, Ball of Terrible Flame (CrIg Gen) that you know at CrIg 35 and which does exactly the same thing, is?" "Because I gave it a different name." Semantics.

[size=150]Examples of Less Obvious “General” Guidelines[/size]

Some guidelines are not labeled “general,” but are written following the same idea. As such a label has no bearing on the spell itself being a General spell, that they lack such a label is irrelevant. Meanwhile, these guidelines make it really obvious how the power increases with level, making it easier to design General spells. Ignem serves as a great example as it contains two of them, each in multiple places.

Some guidelines just list increasing effects of the same type at higher magnitudes. If you look at the Creo Ignem and Perdo Ignem guidelines on page 140, you’ll see the damage increasing by +5 for each magnitude. SGs may or may not let you go in increments of +1 per level when designing spells at intermediate levels, but that doesn’t matter since monotonic increase is fine. It doesn’t matter that the Creo Ignem table ends at +30 and the Perdo Ignem table ends at +10 (besides which, we know Creo Ignem actually goes up to at least +45 (HoH:S p.37) and Perdo Ignem actually goes up to at least +20 (ArM5 p.142)).

Some guidelines make a separate statement about a regular increase that can be used with multiple of the guidelines. If you look at Muto Ignem, Perdo Ignem, and Rego Ignem, you’ll see +5 per magnitude listed as a modifier to the levels presented.

While General spells are not limited to “general” guidelines and these two variants, they will probably account for most General spells because of how they are all written.

[size=150]Examples of Less Obvious General Spells[/size]

So let’s look at some examples that may not seem to be General spells at first but actually qualify.

  • Ball of Abysmal Flame (CrIg 30)
    R: Voice, D: Mom, T: Ind
    A ball of flame shoots from your hand to strike a single target, doing +25 damage.
    (Base 20, +2 Voice; the ball appearing to shoot from your hand is a cosmetic effect)

The only difference from the one in the core book is +25 instead of +30. They qualify, so these are two different levels of a General spell.

  • Ward Against Heat and Flames (ReVi30)
    R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Ind
    Keeps heat and fire at bay, unable to approach within 1 pace of the target. This renders the target immune to damage from flames or heat of intensity less than that of molten iron. The target gets a +20 Soak against all fire-related damage. Any fire doing less than +20 damage per round doesn’t penetrate the ward. Such fires simply dim at the protected person’s passing and flare back up after he or she is gone.
    (Base 4, +3 for up to +20 damage, +1 Touch, +2 Sun)

The only difference from the one in the core book is +20 instead of +15. They qualify, so these are two different levels of a General spell.

  • Gift of Reason (CrMe 40)
    R: Touch, D: Mom, T: Ind, Ritual
    Permanently increases the target’s Intelligence by 1 point, to no higher than +1.
    (Base 35, +1 Touch)

The only difference from the one in the core book is +1 instead of 0. They qualify, so these are two different levels of a General spell.

  • Purification of the Festering Wounds (CrCo 25)
    R: Touch, D: Moon, T: Ind
    The target gains a +12 bonus to Recovery rolls to recover from injuries or diseases, as long as he has been under the influence of this spell for the whole of the recovery interval. The recovery interval is counted from the time that the spell is cast; any previous time is ignored.
    (Base 5, +1 Touch, +3 Moon)

The only difference from the one in the core book is +12 instead of +9. They qualify, so these are two different levels of a General spell.

  • The Chirurgeon’s Healing Touch (CrCo 25)
    R: Touch, D: Mom, T: Ind, Ritual
    This spell heals a single Medium Wound suffered by the person touched. This spell does not heal damage from poison or disease.
    (Base 20, +1 Touch)

This will undoubtedly be the most contentious one among those I’ve listed. So let’s look more carefully. The only difference from the one in the core book is “medium” instead of “Light.” Medium is just one level (actually referred to this way – see p.179) of wound stronger than Light (and Light is one level above none). So the power has increased the wound that can be handled by one level. We could write the spells this way:

The Chirurgeon’s Healing Touch (CrCo Gen)
R: Touch, D: Mom, T: Ind, Ritual
This spell heals a single Wound, of magnitude – 4 levels of severity, suffered by the person touched. This spell does not heal damage from poison or disease.
(Base varies, +1 Touch)

So, do we have a spell that varies in only power with level, keeping all other things the same? Yes. Therefore, we have a General spell.

[size=200]Final Words[/size]

My goal is merely to extract what the rules state explicitly and implicitly with as much care to the logic (which means avoiding internal contradictions) as possible. Many SGs may not like what this says about General spells. That's really not a problem. Feel free to house rule things however you want. But I do recommend listing such house rules among your house rules for clarity. Same thing with spells of intermediate levels if you disallow them.

[size=200]Adaptive Casting[/size]

The rules are actually somewhat contradictory or too vague on this. Adaptive Casting can be taken for General spells and allows you to use your mastery score and special abilities “whenever you cast the same spell at a different level.”

Go back in time for a moment. ArM5 p.86 says, “For every possible Hermetic spell, there is a corresponding Ability.” Notice the singular article, indicating only one possibility for each spell. So you can only take this Ability once for the same spell. That’s handy, preventing you from buying Spell Mastery 1 a bunch of times for the same spell to get lots of special abilities for the same spell for minimal experience. But there remained a question: are two versions of a General spell the same spell or are they different spells? The answer to that question would determine whether those two versions shared one Mastery Ability or had two individual Mastery Abilities. There was a split way back when over this interpretation.

Then along comes Adaptive Casting, and this leads to a logical problem. Adaptive Casting says the two versions are indeed the same spell: ”the same spell at a different level.” This implies there is a single Mastery Ability that applies to all versions of a General spell since they are all the same spell instead of being different spells. But this would seem to mean Adaptive Casting isn’t necessary at all, that it doesn’t even work. But then why does Adaptive Casting exist at all?

There is one answer that is completely logically consistent: If you learn a General spell, you can only master one version of it. Mastering that version normally (lacking Adaptive Casting) provides no benefit whatsoever for the other versions, and you can’t master them. I don’t think anyone believes this is the intention of any of the rules, though.

The answer must be, then, despite what must be a contradiction, that each level of a General spell has its own mastery score, and taking Adaptive Casting as a special ability for that one works as described. For instance, mastery of Aegis of the Hearth (ReVi 20) is treated as a different Ability than is mastery of Aegis of the Hearth (ReVi 25). Great, there seems to be clarity here despite Adaptive Casting contradictorily implying it doesn’t work and shouldn’t exist. We just have to chalk that up to a mistake in writing “the same spell” instead of something like “a different version of the spell.”

But there are more problems than just Adaptive Casting ruling itself out (assuming that unlikely logical possibility of being barred from mastering different levels is wrong).

One of them is a lack of precision in language, and others stem from there. Adaptive Casting says, “You may use your mastery score and all the special abilities associated with this spell whenever you cast the same spell at a different level.” We need to look at “may use” combined with the conjunction “and.” Does this mean using the score forces you to use all the special abilities or using any one special ability requires you to use all the others and the score? Also, are these used in addition to what is already available (from mastery of the version you’d apply these to) or in place of what is already available? I would think we should look at the standard use of such a phrase. For example, “You may use pencils, pens, and calculators when taking this test.” That phrase and variants of it are extremely common. Usually that is interpreted as allowing you to use a pencil without having a pen or vice versa. That is also consistent with definitions of “may” that state being “allowed” or “permitted to.” There is a list of allowed or permitted things. And, if we go back to that test statement, using a calculator, for instance, usually doesn’t mean you lose access to the equation sheet that was provided with an exam. “May” giving permission is usually (always without something stating otherwise?) far different from replacement. Now, this doesn’t mean you get to stack everything. For instance, let’s say you have Mastery 2 with Adaptive Casting and Penetration at one level and Mastery 2 with Adaptive Casting and Multiple Casting at another level. There is nothing saying Penetration would add 4 to your penetration and that Multiple Casting would give you 5 copies in total. That Penetration is associated with a score of 2, and Multiple Casting is associated with the other score of 2, and those special abilities reference the single mastery score to which they’re attached. So it would seem you get to use all of the special abilities, but they’re not as useful as if you had them all for the one spell (with the higher mastery score).

But what do you do with the scores? Do you add them all for the casting score and the reduced botch dice? Do you use your choice (the highest) of them? Unlike with Penetration and Multiple Casting, there is nothing indicating you don’t add them all together. For example, each mastery score “adds to casting score and subtracts from number of botch dice.” If you get to use another score, it would seem like you just follow its rule of adding or subtracting, which would end up stacking them.

Similarly, what if you have Mastery 2 with Adaptive Casting and Multiple Casting for each of two levels. With either level, then, you would seem to get 5 copies total, 1 + 2 (from one mastery) + 2 (from the other mastery).

Now all this opens up some cans of worms.

Should you be able to bypass the earlier rule allowing only one mastery Ability for one spell? You could invent a pile of low-level versions of a General spell and use Adaptive Casting. You get each of them to mastery 2. But you put most your time into the high-level version to reap the benefits of compounded special abilities like Imperturbable Casting, Multiple Casting, and Penetration. Or, if you have enough of them, maybe you take these several options with each of a few masteries and save another few masteries for other things. This is a super-cheap way to add piles of special abilities to a spell you’ve already mastered to a high score, that would otherwise take far more experience to improve. It’s ripe for massive abuse.

To avoid that one option is to choose to rule that once you’ve taken Adaptive Casting all mastery points get dumped into a single Ability, no matter which level of the General spell they were initially placed in. Of course, that means you can benefit from tractatus of any version, but that’s unlikely to matter. The bigger problem arises when writing tractatus and summas with the composite mastery. Toward which level would your writing create a tractatus or summa? What happens with the tractatus limit when writing toward different levels?

Another option would be to rule in an additional line for Adaptive Casting, stating something like it’s an all-or-nothing replacement when used. That gets rid of much brokenness, and you don’t get as much of a mess with tractatus and summas.

There seems to be no way around the problems that exist because Adaptive Casting is not just inherent to all General spells’ masteries without needing a special ability, but that is pretty clearly what the rules end up saying due to its existence. Now you either have problems of inherently allowing huge numbers of special abilities and bonuses or you have to make some special rulings, likely involving house rules, at the very least involving questionable interpretations.

Having gone through all this, I suspect I’m going to house rule Adaptive Casting out of existence in my games and just have a single mastery Ability that applies for all levels of a General spell.

As a response, may I refer people to page 20-22 of the Praesidium Orae PbP saga discussion where callen, silveroak and I argue about "General spells"

I would like to put it to the reader that the "Adaptive casting" spell mastery applies only to General spells ie spells using a General with a capital G guideline.

General spells are the ones I wrote about above, which are defined with a capital G on page 115.

No, as I showed above, general guidelines have absolutely no bearing on spells being labeled General spells. Not only in that direction, but I can show you examples of spells using general guidelines that are not listed as General spells.

If you don't believe me, read through above and find any logical problem at all.

So let's say my oldest version of Ranulf invents a spell in all ways similar to Pillum of Fire but at level 45 and having a damage modifier 25 points higher than Pillum of Fire from the core book. If he then gets a single level of Adaptive casting mastery he can use all of his Pillum of Fire spell mastery skills with the new spell.

This is your take?

Ignoring the question of whether Pilum of Fire counts as a General spell, my understanding is that it isn't the new spell that needs to be mastered with Adaptive Casting, but rather the original Pilum of Fire spell, which then gives its mastery to all other versions of the same spell.

I haven't done my post on Adaptive Casting yet. Unfortunately, Adaptive Casting actually causes more problems than it solved. That post won't be short, though hopefully not as long as the first post.

However, I can quickly answer that the mastery for any one version can be used for any of the other versions. That's what it says. There is no mention of original versus newer distinction within the special ability at all.

Having now ignored the question for over a week let's get back to it, is Pilum of Fire (in your take) a general spell?

Well, on its own it's one version/level of a general spell, just like I noted with Ball of Abysmal Flame above:

  • Pilum of Fire (CrIg 25)
    R: Voice, D: Mom, T: Ind
    A 2-foot, thick, spear-shaped jet of fire flies from your palms, doing +20 damage to the individual it hits.
    (Base 15, +2 Voice)

The only difference from the one in the core book is +20 instead of +15. They qualify, so these are two different levels of a General spell by the definition of a General spell.

They could be written this way instead, choosing a different name for anyone who wants to play the semantics game:

  • Pilum of Flame (CrIg Gen)
    R: Voice, D: Mom, T: Ind
    A 2-foot, thick, spear-shaped jet of fire flies from your palms, doing +level-5 damage to the individual it hits.
    (Base 4, +2 Voice, + levels for more damage)

I don't think, under RAW, varying the 'level of effect' - is enough to make them a general spell. It is, however, enough to make them 'similar spells', per the guidelines on ARM p.101, as long as other parameters don't change. In fact, I believe this is one of the key criteria these rules are designed for.

Edit: had some erroneous thoughts about spell mastery and general spells.

That said, I'd absolutely consider allowing a character, (perhaps one with FFM and/or Adaptive Casting), to make a Major or Hermetic breakthrough that indeed did further the 'generalization' of spells in the manner you've suggested to include similar effects. This would be a major step in 'bridging the gap' between Spontaneous and Formulaic Magic.

No, not at all!!! Please don't claim I said that, not even implied it. You could use exactly the same guideline at exactly the same level and still get a different spell. A conditional statement does not imply its converse. Similarly, not all fire spells that cause damage would be versions of the same General spell, even if the have the same R/T/D stuff. Now, you could make other levels/versions of the Wound that Weeps.

Editted my post hoping you hadn't responded yet after I re-read the section on Adaptive Casting :stuck_out_tongue:

My thought was that if you could make other levels/version of Wound that Weeps to the point where the spell is mechanically identical to CGotCH, and were attempting to stack mastery abilities, that gets a little... rule-pretzely for me, since at that point we're getting down to the 'name of the spell'.

That's why I saved a post above for Adaptive Casting. There is a whole set of stuff there, and Adaptive Casting actually causes more logical problems than it solves.

Since it's already come up, let me address a logical issue that is arising. Having matching guidelines except for power level is a necessary condition for a General spell, not a sufficient condition. The higher the level, the more powerful the spell is doesn't mean you can have a different effect, just a more powerful version of the same effect. But the effect needs to be the same otherwise; you can't vary the effect with the level. I'll go back and clarify this above. But for now let's look at some examples:

Demon's Eternal Oblivion v. Dreadful Bane of the Fae v. Sap the Griffin's Strength[/i]

These all use exactly the same guideline and could be learned at exactly the same levels, but they are not all one general spell. They are three general spells. They use the same guideline, but one destroys Infernal Might, one destroys Faerie Might, and one destroys Magic Might. Varying the level varies the power within one of these. But that doesn't allow for the realm change.

Magi Skeletor v. Ginsu

Skeletor has a Focus in bones. Ginsu has a Focus in cutting. Skeletor does things like making spears out of bone and making The Tireless Servant and had a talisman carved out of animal bone. Ginsu has spells to cut stone and cut down trees. They discuss their direct Corpus attacks.

Ginsu has a spell just like The Wound that Weeps using the PeCo 5 guideline "Inflict a Light Wound." Ginsu's spell reads, "When casting this spell, you point at the
victim and a large cut opens on his or her body. The cut is bad enough to be a Light Wound."

Skeletor has a spell using the PeCo 10 guideline "Inflict a Medium Wound" with the same Range/Duration/Target. Skeleton's spell reads, "When casting this spell, you point at the
victim and one of the victim's bones breaks. The break is bad enough to be a Medium Wound."

Are these two different levels of the same general spell? Let's look at their conversation:

Ginsu says, "Mine is better. It works with my focus. It also causes bloody wounds that make it easy to get an Arcane Connection to an escaped enemy. I would rather invent a more powerful version of mine than use yours if I want to cause a more severe wound."

Skeletor replies, "No, mine is better. It works with my focus. It also is more effective against animated skeletons. I would rather invent a less powerful version of mine than use yours if I need more penetration."

You can clearly see that these are two different spells. Their game effects are noticeably different, even if they use the same sets of guidelines. Meanwhile, you can see in their conversation that they could create other versions of each of their spells that would be different versions of a General spell. This is not a naming difference but an effect difference. The text of the spell should be able to be written the same way except for the power level (like the +X for damage) without changing any of the game effects of the spell.

So, no, The Wound that Weeps and Clenching Grasp of the Crushed Heart are not two versions of the same spell. But you could invent your own, more powerful, version of The Wound that Weeps. The super-close-but-not-quite pair are Pilum of Fire and Ball of Abysmal Flame. (I'm not sure when a jet of fire versus a ball of fire will matter, but I suppose there may be some point. I can say shape is an important factor in CrIg spells, though.) As for issues of stacking Mastery Abilities, I'll address those issues in the second post on Adaptive Casting soon.

So far, I have to side with callen.
Which is often the wise choice it seems.

OK. I think I've finally finished wading through the mess that is Adaptive Casting. I placed that analysis in the second post of the thread.


I usually agree with Chris about rules, and here too, but not always. :slight_smile:

My main points of disagreement here revolve around the following:

  • Just because something seems like it could be general, doesn't mean that it is. For example, if I have guidelines for level 5/10/15/20/25 spells that produce +5/10/15/20/25 damage, it does not mean that I also have (or deserve to have) guidelines for 30/35....100 to produce corresponding amounts of damage.

  • Just because it seems reasonable for the general rules to have precedence over specific, unstated but consistent trends throughout the rules, doesn't mean that this is reasonable at all. For example, since there isn't a single example of a Hermetic spell having a magnitude above 5 that is not a multiple of 5, and since there are no rules for constructing such a spell beyond GM fiat, I think it is quite reasonable to consider the sentence suggesting that spells of level 17.3 are possible to have been ignored during editing, or otherwise superseded by reality.

  • Just because "General spells" are presented as a coherent, consistent concept in the core rules does not this concept ever really was coherent or consistent, rather than a half-baked "we know it when we see it." No example here, but there is a consequence: Any attempt to codify General spells represents a new (and possibly improved) body of rules rather a restoration of any ancient and fully-formed intention.

Maybe not. It is not at all clear that a spell that uses one guideline to produce +5 damage is equivalent to a spell that uses another guideline to produce +10 damage, even though the spells are in all other respects identical. Sure, to us it looks like this is just a +5 increase in power. But the effect that produces this power might be a bit different within the game world.

Different cases. Darius learned a specific version of DEO, and this is at level 30. He did not learn all the other versions, and these are not on his character sheet. BoAF is not general because no guideline used in its construction allows for varying power in the manner described. BoTF is not general for the same reason. Once I slot in the guideline and RTD, exactly one possible spell level exists. Not very general.

Or, Ignem serves as a great example standing against your thesis.

Two ways to go: Either CrIg should have been given a General guideline of "base level = base damage" but the core rules were written and edited before we had enough experience with the game and therefore got it wrong, or guidelines for level 50 ==> +50 damage do not exist and the core rules mean what they say.

It is reasonable and not necessarily incorrect to rule either way.

There is a deeper conversation to be had, I think, about what a Hermetic Guideline really is in AM.

Unless it does matter. Did the guy who used the +45 have to invent a new guideline? Were new guidelines sneaked in (whether or not they were printed?) Did he use a general guideline of the sort you describe? Or, as happens so often in AM supplements, is it best just to consider this as homebrew that got published?

To my point.

As you might guess, I will disagree about most of these specific examples.

I'm not saying that your rules are better or worse, only that they are your rules.

The great thing about starting with an inconsistent system, of course, is that we are valid wherever we end up! :smiley:




Here is where it starts to matter, because we get actual game mechanics based upon a spell being General.

Since we're being a bit pedantic and analytic, I must sadly point out that this interpretation is almost certainly intended but not actually stated.

If I have 50 corresponding Abilities for every possible Hermetic spell, I also have a corresponding Ability. I do agree that "exactly one" was intended.

I don't only mean to be pedantic :slight_smile:, but also to bring up the dangers of treating a text of informal writing in a formal way.

Because the writing is vague and woolly, as you point out?

I could point out how I look at things:

A spell doesn't exist until it is invented, and every spell must be invented by every magus who knows it, and then it is different from some other spell that is invented. If I know two spells sharing the same General guideline (keep things simple) and effect within that guideline and RTD, these are two different spells, each with its own Mastery Ability.

I suppose that if the SG allowed me to invent BoAF twice (but this one is totally different because it produces green flames rather than blue), each would have its own Mastery Ability, and I would have to choose which one to cast and only get the benefit of the corresponding Mastery ability.

Note that Mastery Abilities are tied to spells.

That seems reasonable and consistent to me, except, of course, for issues involving the exchange of texts about spell mastery, in which it seems pretty clear that these texts are not tied to spells in the way that I describe them at all! :slight_smile: But it still works: The texts apply to all invented spells that are sufficiently similar. (And that only gets weird when it comes to General spells: Is studying a DEO-30 Mastery Text useful for my DEO-10?)

An excellent choice!

Although from my perspective, using Adaptive Casting is a house rule, since the use of any supplement is a house rule.

Another way to do it is to let each invention of a General spell have its own Mastery Ability. Especially with your generous views of what a general spell is, your way creates mechanical differences.

A Flambeau gets a big benefit, for example, if your rules apply BOTH to a) a +20 damage BoAF is the same General spell as a +25 damage BoAF, AND to b) all levels of a General spell share a Mastery Ability. Talk about Mr Happy.

I'm not sure this is desirable as a default.



+1 to what Ken said.

They're guidelines, and it's "Ars" Magica, so there's leeway.

Discussion & consensus with your troupe trumps all forum threads.

Yes they do, they all dwell in the World of Forms, probably somewhere in the deepest corner of the Magic Realm. Magi just discover and versionate them, instead of inventing them. Hail Plato!